Posted by Joel on December 29, 2001 at 22:59:26:
I'm new here.
Reading your responses to Carla's post has raised some concerns for me, since I am in a similar situation.
Two years ago my landlord made me a similar offer, and I took it. My rent was also under $500, and I moved into an apartment across the street with a registered rent of close to $700. The landlord didn't give me any written agreement explaining that he was lowering the rent in the new apartment to what I was paying at the other one, and that all future rent increases would be based on that rent. Instead, he gave me a new lease for the remaining of my present lease, where it said what the registered rent was in the new apartment (about $700) and then he wrote next to it the rent that I would pay (the same as in my old apartment) as a preferential rent. There is actually a printed line on the lease for that purpose that says something like "actual rent, if different from registered rent".
When that lease expired and it was time to renew, he gave me a two year lease with an increase based on the lower (preferential) rent, again, stating what the legal registered rent was in that apartment, now updated with the corresponding two year increase, and what the lower preferential rent was after the new increase.
Since then I have received every year from the city a statement that has both, the legal (higher) rent and the lower (preferencial) rent, as registered rents for that apartment.
In view of this and the lack of an agreement stating what the reason for the preferential rent is, could the landlord increase the rent with a new lease to the higher registered rent?
Wouldn't I have enough evidence in court, with the statements from the city that list both rents, and the leases, as prove that he agreed to base all future rent increases on the lower rent I was paying in my other apartment in exchange from moving to the new apartment?
I realize that the lack of an agreement may encourage a crooked landlord to try to screw me, but he would have to be able to explain in court why he moved me to a new apartment in the middle of a lease, lowered that apartment's rent to match mine, renewed the lease for 2 years basing the new increase on the lower rent, and then registered both rents with the city.
I guess what I'm trying to ask here is, if he tries to screw me, given the evidence I mentioned above, could I win this case in court?
Any comments will be greatly appreciated.
P.S. my apartment is rent stabilized and it is also a studio on the Upper West Side.
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